Monday, May 20, 2013

The Earth and a Waterfall and (May2013 Folksmarch)

Yesterday we took a trip to Ithaca to visit the Museum of the Earth. It was community day, so the admission fee was...wait for it....FREE!!!! This hidden museum just outside of Ithaca, NY has everything about the Earth, and on this adventure they had several demonstrators to present to the crowd.
I anticipated a crowd due to the community day promo, but there wasn't really to many people there so we didn't have to stagger around with a ton of people. The museum was really much more then I had expected too. The boys examined how fossils are found in the deep earth and how scientist examine the samples through microscopes. There was a demonstration on how soil is obtained in the ocean and how each level of particle settlement helps to describe what may have been happening during that part of history. It was actually really neat.
 Upon entering there was the skeletal remains of a whale hanging. He was pretty cool. We got to see what his "tooth" looked like too. I thought it was a piece of bamboo, until Ben pointed out the hairs along the sides.
 This is the wall of sediments. It is pretty cool too. Each panel level represents a time line of the rock and the fossils/animal remains from each era. Taking slices of the earth has helped scientist better understand the way the earth was billions of years ago based only on the soil and rocks embedded in the earth.
 Ben shifting through sand to find microscopic fossils. (His were actually pictures of microscopic particles.) Can you tell he is less then enthused with me here.
 Gavin viewing what these particles actually really look like under a microscope. These tiny particles are viewed to further help understand what the earth was like during this time period.
 Here is Gavin holding up a slab of hardened LAVA, the way the women picked the slab up with one hand I thought it must only weigh 10 pounds, when she handed the slap to me, I was surprised at how heavy it was. Ben has just finished studying this stuff, so he was the star of these demonstrations. I embarrassed him by informing the demonstrators that he had just been inducted into the National Honor Society. When he was quizzed about fault lines and volcano's this kid didn't miss a beat. I think the presented was tickled! I told Ben later that he possibly made that guys day. "Justin" (Should have got a picture of him) was CLEARLY into his work. This guy was beaming with passion and excitement about his work and presentation. Ben was really awesome about it too, he told me he thought it was really neat that the guy really enjoyed his job and how great is that. Gavin is also studying the earth, so he had some answers too. Here the boys are doing a demonstration on how the gasses in the earth function to cause a volcanic eruption. Gavin went first, he was so funny and nervous, he dropped in the ant-acid covered the top and bolted!
 There she blows. His top flew. If you look close at the picture you can actually see the smoke from the bottle.
 Ben was less fearful and more meticulous. Putting the top on, he only stepped away rather then bolting.
 I missed a picture of it actually popping off!
 Apparently it is not just soil and rock that scientists study to examine the earth, but also ICE. Here is Gavin cranking up some Ice samples, to view.
 This Mastodon was my favorite in the museum. He or she was so amazing. We marveled at his size and discussed the difference between this guy and a woolly mammoth. I don't think we ever got a definitive answer, but this guys bones were so stinking cool regardless. Check out his head those teeth and those long Tusks.

 No guessing on who's fossilized head this is. It's T-Rex!!
 These little guys were just so cute I had to get a picture. Ben was quite sure that these were not those evil little guys from the movie Jurassic Park.

 Hands on activities. These are replica's of dino bones. The boys had fun putting these horns on their heads.
 An extreme fossil find.
 This guy had to be one of the most bizarre things any of us had ever seen. Tell me this does not look like a fish swam up a turtles butt. We marveled at this strange looking guy for quite a bit of time. He dose not appear to have a face or a head poking out like a turtle would. I am still not convinced that this guy was ever really an animal that swam in our seas millions of years ago.
 This is the guy we all think about when we think about the evolution of fish to mammal. Water to land animals that once only swan and had gills to emerging from the sea to walk to earth and breath the air.
Gavin petting the Dino Status out front of the museum. The boys both smashed pennies as souvenirs and we headed out towards our next day's adventure. Overall the museum was pretty neat if you really are into that stuff. The boys as usual were rather rushed so, even if I had been interested in reading each informative blurb,  I couldn't have. It was definitely interesting and educational. A class trip would surely benefit from this museum. For myself there were a lot of rocks, and a lot of fossils. I think both Gavin and even Ben would agree, you really have to have an interest in this stuff to fully appreciate the museum. I loved the Mastodon he was really cool, and little kids might enjoy the limited but neat dinosaur displays. I would guess it would be a select few, (people like Justin our demonstrator) that would really appreciate this type of museum. Was it a disappointment? Absolutely not, in fact it had more then I had anticipated it having. I just know that I would have walked away irritated at the $8- admission fee had I paid to get in, but like I said, we still had an enjoyable time, and we all learned (even our brain of the trip Ben) a little something, and stepped outside of our box to explore an area of science that is actually really neat. Here are the boys being silly! I took the picture at the bottom of the hill, they were trying to give the effect of falling.

 On to part two of our Ithaca adventures. I had made a picnic lunch before we left and decided to use our PARKPASS and visit one of the many in the area State Parks. Gavin was shall we say; NOT INPRESSED and wanted to go home. He made claim that the only way he wanted to stop at Buttermilk falls was if there was really butter falling down those rocks.
Of course there is no butter at all, but we (Ben and I) convinced him he needed to check it out just the same. We had some lunch and then the boys played on the playground. This playground was a bit of a challenge for both of the boys, so they really had to work hard climbing, hanging and crawling.
Ben climbing on the top, and Gavin crawling through the circles.
Taking a spin!
Pump, Pump, Pump!!!
Now a look at the beautiful falls.
The boys were more interested in walking across the missing bridge. It was sure slippery and COLD. I even took off my shoes and socks to do a little wading. My time in the water didn't last to long, but the boys ventured from the middle (slowly and a little apprehensive) to deep into the creek crossing back and forth.

Look mom, we made it to the middle.
I watched from the side and took pictures of the falls from different angles.
Taking the wading to a different level. At first they tried placing rocks to cross over on, then they just stepped right in.
I have no idea what kid of flowers these were, but they were all over the rock walls surrounding the trail.
Step here, then there, you can do it.

Having made it....Gavin looks across and call to me....MOM!! Come help. Like I can really help you.
Look way up at the top and there is Ben walking out on top of the falls.
A little information about the creek. I am not sure why it was named Buttermilk Falls, I am sure there is an explanation, but there was none presented. I told the boys of when I was there age and went camping here with my mother and one of my friends Erin. We had a great time. My camping adventures were nothing like what these guys experience. There was NO electricity EVER, and I was never stuck sitting in the tent watching tv or playing games. We were off hiking or making Gnome houses who were expecting their fairy friends to visit. I too was once a BIG water wader and always loved to swim. Anyways, times do change. After all this fun, we called it a day and headed back to Liverpool for an evening of relaxation.
PS: I went to the monthly Folksmarch solo! I brought the dog, and I was less then good about making the 5k expected. I signed in, got my pin, signed up for the walk a mile Monday got information about the DC trip took a little stroll down the hill, then headed back to my car. I just couldn't enjoy the walk without my gal pals. Do I feel guilty...yes! But look what I got to do instead!

I really did wish my friends were with me, it would have been a nostalgic walk in my old stomping grounds. The route went right into areas that I used to walk with my girlfriend Lynne when we were kids to get the University area. I could have looked to see if the frosting we put in the statue butt crack was still there from 30 + years ago...LOL! I did get a picture of the Thornden pool, which Lynne and I walked to nearly everyday during the summer to swim in. We were like addicted. I cannot imagine walking that journey just to go swimming today. We were seriously dedicated to our walks. Now I just have to walk out my back door, well it's not looking swimmable currently, but hopefully soon enough.  Next time I guess.